By DAN KARELL
With both teams playing mid-week CONCACAF Champions League road matches, it’s fair to say that the outcome of Saturday evening’s game between the Montreal Impact and the Houston Dynamo could have gone either way.
Instead, it was all Impact after the first 35 minutes. Marco Di Vaio scored a brace and both Felipe Martins and Justin Mapp had two assists each for the Impact as they routed the visiting Dynamo, 5-0, at Stade Saputo in Montreal. The victory puts the Impact in first place in the Eastern Conference for the time being, with 41 points.
It’s the Impact’s first winning streak in MLS since they won three straight in May-June.
Mapp nearly put the Impact up 1-0 in the 14th minute with a long-range blast with his dangerous left foot but the shot clanged off the crossbar. Mapp did however play a key role in the Impact’s eventual opener in the 35th minute, feeding Di Vaio in the box and letting the Italian do what he does best: make seemingly difficult goals look easy, curling a shot past Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall.
Two minutes later, the Impact added their second when Mapp played Martins on the left side of the box, allowing the Brazilian midfielder to curl a beautiful shot in for a goal.
The Dynamo’s best chance of the match came three minutes into the second half, as Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins robbed Dynamo forward Will Bruin of a header goal, diving down and to his left to make a terrific save.
New signing Hernan Bernardello helped put the game away with the Impact’s third goal in the 58th minute. Bernardello sent in a long corner kick towards the far post that only needed a touch from defender Jeb Brovsky, scoring his second goal of the season in the process.
Di Vaio added his second and the team’s fourth in the 70th minute when teammate Patrice Bernier beat the offside trap on a long ball from the defense and fed a wide-open Di Vaio to his left. The Impact scored their fifth goal of the match in the first minute of stoppage time via the toe-poke of substitute Andrea Pisanu.
Here are the match highlights: